05-Sep-2002 -- Continued from 31S 29E.
Ferdi's wife Rinie wanted to make use of the opportunity to continue with her research into Welfare in the rural areas (see 23S 29E). So after two days of leisure at Mkambati, Ferdi and I accompanied her to Lusikisiki, Flagstaff and Bizana. We left her at Bizana at three o'clock in the afternoon to try and visit 31S 30E, on the main road to Port Edward. This one seemed to be some way from the nearest road and turned out to be our most difficult hike.
It was a rainy and misty day. We found a jeep track off the main road a bit less than 3 km from the Confluence, but immediately realised that it was too muddy and slippery, and that if we proceeded down it, we might not be able to get back up. We parked at the nearest house and asked the old man there to keep an eye on the vehicle. As it turned out, the track ended about 150 m further and we would not have gained much by driving down it. We set off in the rain: Around two hills, down the slope across a stream, down the stream and back across and then across a wide valley. We ended on the edge of a river gorge still 700 m short of our target. We managed to find a way down into the gorge, waded through the river and crossed another stream twice to reach the Confluence at quarter past four, thoroughly soaked. We hurriedly took the minimum photographs, as the camera is not waterproof, and found our way back to the vehicle.
We got back to Bizana at five o'clock, picked Rinie up, and started driving back to Mkambati. This turned out to be the most dangerous and difficult part, as it was dark by then and the mist had thickened to the point where we could no longer see the road ahead of us and had to drive literally from cat eye to cat eye. As mentioned before, Transkei roads are dangerous at the best of times. On the drive in to Bizana we had already come across three dead dogs, a dead sheep and a dead horse on the road. Things went from bad to worse when we left the tar just before Flagstaff. The dirt road was now slippery and pot-holed, and in the mist we could not see the edges of the road. Luckily the mist lifted as we got closer to the sea. It took us three and half hours to cover the approximately 90 km, arriving back at our lodge at nine in the evening.
Continued at 29S 30E.